A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #700-#691

Classics from Roy Clark, the Dixie Chicks, and Brad Paisley are among the highlights here.

#700

Jerrod Niemann, “Drink to That All Night”

#4 | 2013

JK: Hardly the worst single of its kind or era, but it sure doesn’t make me sad that “Donkey” killed his career, either. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  This should’ve gone viral like that “Friday” song.  What a spectacle. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#699

Reba McEntire, “Little Rock”

#1 | 1986

KJC: A raucous hit that McEntire almost lost to Janie Fricke, this is one of her most inspired eighties performances.  About Right

JK: Maybe it’s just a matter of local playlist preferences, but this one has been overplayed to death as a recurrent. Still, it’s my second-favorite single in Reba’s run of  80s hits, behind “One Promise Too Late.” About Right

#698

Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton, “When I Get Where I’m Going”

#1 | 2005

JK: The hopefulness of this song keeps it from skewing too sentimental, which is a fine balancing act. Dolly was the exact right choice for a duet partner, too. One of Paisley’s very best. Too Low

KJC:  Paisley at his plaintive best, with a perfect assist from Parton.  About Right

#697

Gene Watson, “Fourteen Carat Mind”

#1 | 1981

KJC:  There have been so many great country songs about the poor boy who can’t keep the attention of a girl who has a taste for the finer things.  Patsy might have chosen a poor man’s roses, but moaning about the ones who choose the rich man’s gold makes for a better country song. About Right

JK: Another single I’m shocked that they remembered at all, let alone included this high. Watson elevated everything he sang, though I’d say this one is a bit Too High.

#696

Carrie Underwood, “Two Black Cadillacs”

#4 | 2012

JK: I’ll never be able to separate this single from the 1200 word email I received from one of Underwood’s fans, saying that I’d obviously never heard of “Southern Gothic” because I said this was underwritten in my review of Blown Away. Which is to say, the narrative is underwritten, and Underwood’s performance doesn’t do enough to fill in the gaps. It’s well-produced, but this ranking is Too High.

KJC:  She’s really piled up the body count over the years, hasn’t she?  Too High

#695

Garth Brooks, “American Honky Tonk Bar Association”

#1 | 1993

KJC:  An overcompensation for “We Shall Be Free” that finds Garth at his most pandering. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: The first single of his that I can remember genuinely hating at the time of its release. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#694

Blake Shelton, “Neon Light”

#3 | 2014

JK: Given the magnitude of his celebrity, he has entirely too many hit songs that leave no impression whatsoever. This is fine enough on a revisit, but damned if I can recall having heard it before. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: He does the drinking you off my mind song better than most of his peers.  Too High

#693

Roy Clark, “Thank God and Greyhound”

#6 | 1970

KJC: There are only two Roy Clark songs on this list, and they’re both classics.  “Thank God and Greyhound” sets up a heartbreak song so beautifully that the woman’s departure is as cathartic for us as it is for Clark.  About Right

JK: Since most of my memories of Clark are filtered through the lens of episodes of Hee Haw at my grandparents’ house, I enjoyed revisiting this single. A great choice for this list. About Right

#692

Dixie Chicks, “There’s Your Trouble”

#1 | 1998

JK: A better introduction to the trio than the slight “I Can Love You Better” had been: The instrumentation is top-notch, the production is crisp and still sounds great more than two decades on, and Maines absolutely sells her lead vocal. About Right

KJC:  The fiddle sounds great and Maines does wonders with the lyrical wordplay, an early indication of her talent as a vocalist.  Too High

#691

Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”

#1 | 2013

KJC:  One of McGraw’s strongest late era singles, with a well delivered hook from Swift and some excellent guitar work from Urban.  Too High

JK: Give or take “Humble & Kind,” this is latter-day McGraw at his best. The idea of having Swift sing a hook had me arching my eyebrow at first, but she’s essential to what works about this one. About Right

Previous: #710-#701 | Next: #690-#681

7 Comments

  1. I’m a Gene Watson fan and like his “14 carat mind” but i prefer a different take on how the boy deals with the girl who has a taste for the finer things.

    “I Don’t Wanna Work That Hard” (Brandon Kinney & Monty Criswell  ) from Blaine Larsen’s “Rockin’ You Tonight” album.

    “You’ve got an eye for diamonds and things that shine
    You want a slick black Jag and a cellar of wine
    I’d have to hold two jobs to keep you in my arms
    And I don’t wanna work that hard” …

    I incorrectly thought that Larsen would be a star and it looks like I’ll be wrong again thinking the same about Mo Pitney.

    Also like the Roy Clark and Dixie Chick entries.

  2. The Dixie Chicks song was one of my favorites from that album. I remember when “I Can Love You Better” topped out at No. 10 wondering if they were going to go anywhere and thinking, “that’s a really good album; it’d be a shame if no one ever heard anything from it because the Chicks never took off.” And then this song hit No. 1. Still, though, I never would have guessed that less than a year later they’d be the biggest thing in country music and that Wide Open Spaces would go one to sell 10 million copies. That was a fun time.

    Was the other Roy Clark song “When I Was Young”?

  3. I second Scott’s opinion on Jerrod Niemann. This is now the second song I’ve seen from him on here, and that’s two too many, imho.

    My top favorites here are the Brad Paisley, Reba, Dixie Chicks, and Roy Clark songs.

    “When I Get Where I’m Going” is simply beautiful, and I agree that it’s one of Brad’s best singles. Dolly’s harmony vocals really do add to it. Love the dobro, too.

    “Little Rock” was always one of my favorites of Reba’s 80’s singles.

    “Thank God And Greyhound” holds a special place for me because it was one of my step dad’s favorites, and he was a big fan of Roy Clark, in general.

    I actually like the Gene Watson song, too, though I’d personally rank several more of his songs above this one. It’s really too bad that this ended up being his only number one.

    Yeah, the Garth song has definitely not aged too well, along with many other songs from that era that were tailor-made for the dance craze going on at the time. That said, I’ll still take it over a lot of the more recent stuff out there.

    I actually like the Carrie Underwood song, and I think it’s one of her better singles. I agree that it’s too high on the list, though.

  4. @ the pistolero:

    Yes, the big hit that Roy had was “Yesterday When I Was Young”, which not only was a big country hit, but also managed to get up to #19 on the Hot 100 in the late summer of 1969.

  5. from
    https://www.nytimes.com › 1995/08/15 › sports › baseball-mantle-memorial-…
    Aug 15, 1995 –

    Almost two years ago, country music singer Roy Clark recalled, he began to sing Mickey Mantle’s favorite song, Yesterday When I Was Young, at a golf tournament Mantle ran each year in his native Oklahoma for the Make a Wish Foundation.

    As Clark sang of squandering the energy of youth and feeling old before his time, Mantle sat down on stage and began to cry.

    A friend snapped a photo, and Mantle later sent Clark an autographed copy, adding a note: “Hang in there. I want to hear Yesterday When I Was Young at my funeral.”

  6. As Clark sang of squandering the energy of youth and feeling old before his time, Mantle sat down on stage and began to cry.

    I can believe it. I have always thought that song was just utterly devastating.

    Also, Erik North, thanks! I knew that song was a big hit, but I’m glad to know it’s on this list.

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